BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College baseball team is set to begin its 2018 season on Friday, February 23 versus Stevenson (Md.) University in the first of three games at the Floyd B. Wilcox Tournament hosted by Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College.
Head Coach Paul Engelhardt enters his 12th season with a 253-194 record, and he returns 27 players from last year's team.
One of the keys to the Greyhounds' season will be on the pitching mound where Engelhardt returns three starters led by junior Rhett Jacoby, who was also on the Landmark All-Conference Second Team a year ago after posting a 5-0 record with a 3.26 ERA, four complete games, 52 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 60.2 innings of action. Senior Dan Morrin and junior John Wiedmayer also return to the starting rotation. Morrin was 3-5 last spring with a 4.58 ERA, 18 walks and 39 strikeouts in 39.1 innings while Wiedmayer had a 1-1 mark with a 4.15 ERA, eight walks and 12 strikeouts in 17.1 innings.
Also returning to the mound are senior Nicholas Mazzella, who had a 2-2 record, nine walks and 25 strikeouts in 26.2 innings, junior Kevin Shields, who had three strikeouts in 15.2 innings, junior Billy Roethke, who registered four strikeouts and 12 innings and junior Evan Kulig, who had a 1-0 record, two saves, a 3.18 ERA and nine strikeouts in 11.1 innings of action.
In the field, Coach Engelhardt returns nearly his entire line-up led by Kulig, who was named to the Landmark All-Conference First Team at third base last spring after hitting .336 with 40 hits, 23 runs, 10 doubles, a homer and 27 RBIs. Also back for another year on the infield are junior Matt Stalter, who had 32 hits, 16 runs, five doubles, a homer and 12 RBIs last season, sophomore Ian Csencsits, who hit .380 with 30 hits, 18 runs, three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs despite missing 12 games with an injury, senior Joey Maker, who had a .306 average, 33 hits, 12 runs, four doubles, two triples, a home run and 23 RBIs, junior Tim Heard, who added 14 hits, 10 runs, three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs, senior David Wodzsiz, who had 12 hits, six runs, three doubles, a triple and seven RBIs and senior Logan Welles, who had 12 hits, six runs, two doubles, a triple, a homer and 14 RBIs last spring.
The outfield is also loaded with returning players led by junior Austin Markowski, who hit .366 a year ago with 34 hits, 15 runs, six doubles, a homer and 20 RBIs. Also back are junior Mike Mittl and sophomore Carmine Palummo. Mittl, who was the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year in 2016, had 25 hits, 15 runs, two doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs last season while Palummo added a .308 average, 32 hits, 20 runs, two doubles, eight stolen bases and seven RBIs in his debut season.
Coach Engelhardt also returns experience behind the plate led by sophomore Ian Luberti, who had 10 his, four runs and a pair of RBIs last year. Juniors Andrew Koenig, Steve Lazicki and Chase Rogers and senior Ezra Rawdon all saw action in the catching position last spring.
The Greyhounds, who have nine seniors on the 2018 roster, have added six freshmen and a pair of transfers to the roster this season that look to contribute as the program seeks a berth in the Landmark Conference Tournament.